As Entertainment Editor emeritus at my school St. John’s University newspaper, the Torch (Red Storm, stand up!), I still dabble in a little student-run publication work here and there. Here’s my take on Drizzy’s careful album.
Take Care is exactly what the world anticipated and then some. The same delight that Drake’s debut Thank Me Later was but a more brutally honest, melodic account from the Toronto native on love, his family, career and expensive habits.
Approaching the album with as much care as possible, Drizzy called on the best to feature in his sophomore effort with contributions from Nicki Minaj, fellow T-Dot singer The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross and Rihanna, just to name a few. But it’s Drake himself who shines from start to finish.
It’s not the generic romantic R&B, nor is it straight street hip-hop. Take Care is a culmination of both sounds that paints a picture of a 25-year-old coping with the consequences of his decisions, both past and present. “Over My Dead Body” opens the album, a soothing reflective track over a simple piano melody that sets the mood for the rest of the ride. The song looks back on Drake’s career since his mixtapes were released combined with an ode to the future: “Second album, I’m back paving the way/ The backpackers are back on the bandwagon/ Like this was my comeback season back, back in the day.”
Love stories come in varied forms on the album, and elicit experiences from Drizzy that he frequently and intimately delves into. With songs like “Shot For Me” and “The Real Her,” many of the female listeners can agree that the Young Money mascot sings all the words most men would not dare to say out loud.
Even the title track on Take Care, featuring Rihanna, deserves recognition as a “We Found Love” spin-off, given the history between the two stars. Drake’s collaboration with Stevie Wonder called “Doing It Wrong” will stir up some emotion as well, along with the popular “Marvin’s Room.”
The heavy hitters on the album are the Chase N. Cashe-produced “Look What You’ve Done” and “Lord Knows,” equipped with a spiritual choir in the background and a tough verse from Maybach Music leader Rick Ross.
Drake drops a few lines that summarize his attempt at longevity in the business: “In the same place my brother Wayne at forever, I’m a descendent of either Marley or Hendrix/ I haven’t figured it out ‘cause my story is far from finished.” Listeners will also realize how much time has passed once “Practice” comes on. In a solid revival, Drizzy takes the 13-year-old Juvenile classic “Back That Thang Up” and signs off the 90s hook as an R&B song, a feat only he is capable of executing.
Drake also brings the good times with “The Motto” with his boss Lil’ Wayne, who appears on three tracks. The club-bangers are sparse on this album but the DJs have made do with the carrier hits “Headlines” and “Make Me Proud.”
The album was originally slated for an Oct. 24 release and was pushed back until Nov. 15 because of sample clearance. Although the album leaked Nov. 7, Drake responded via Twitter in good spirits: “Listen, enjoy it, buy it if you like it…and take care until next time.” October’s Very Own may have been slightly late in its delivery, but Take Care is an album worth downloading and purchasing. It may not be regarded as “Hip-Hop Album of the Year” but many will continue to support it well after 2011 is over.
Daps to: The Torch